Armin Hofmann

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Armin Hofmann speaking to students in a summer design program while visiting the Disentis Monastery in Disentis, Switzerland (1989)

Armin Hofmann (HonRDI) (29 June 1920[1] – 18 December 2020) was a Swiss graphic designer.

He began his career in 1947 as a teacher at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule Basel School of Art and Crafts at the age of twenty-six.[2] Hofmann followed Emil Ruder as head of the graphic design department at the Schule für Gestaltung Basel (Basel School of Design) and was instrumental in developing the graphic design style known as the Swiss Style. His teaching methods were unorthodox and broad based, setting new standards that became widely known in design education institutions throughout the world. His independent insights as an educator, married with his rich and innovative powers of visual expression, created a body of work enormously varied – books, exhibitions, stage sets, logotypes, symbols, typography, posters, sign systems, and environmental graphics. His work is recognized for its reliance on the fundamental elements of graphic form – point, line, and shape – while subtly conveying simplicity, complexity, representation, and abstraction.[3] Originating in Russia, Germany and The Netherlands in the 1920s, stimulated by the artistic avant-garde and alongside the International Style in architecture.[3] He is well known for his posters, which emphasized economical use of colour and fonts, in reaction to what Hofmann regarded as the "trivialization of colour."[4] His posters have been widely exhibited as works of art in major galleries, such as the New York Museum of Modern Art.

He was also an influential educator, retiring in 1987. In 1965 he wrote the Graphic Design Manual, a popular textbook in the field.

Hofmann died in December 2020 at the age of 100 in Lucerne, where he lived with his wife Dorothea Hofmann-Schmid. [5][6]


  1. ^ "Thinking Armin Hofmann. 06 29 2011 Thinking Graphic Designer, Thinking Typographer". thinkingform. Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Armin Hofmann | Biography | People | Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum". Retrieved 2017-03-05.
  3. ^ a b Hollis, Richard (28 April 2006). Swiss graphic design: the origins and growth of an international style, 1920-1965. Yale University Press. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-300-10676-3. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  4. ^ Hofmann, Armin (1989). Wichmann, Hans (ed.). Armin Hofmann: His Work, Quest, and Philosophy = Werk, Erkundung, Lehre. Basel, Boston, Berlin: Berkhauser Verlag. p. 21. ISBN 0-8176-2339-6.
  5. ^ Armin Hofmann Passes
  6. ^ Urs Tremp: Reduktion war Armin Hofmanns Haltung. In: NZZ am Sonntag, 3. Januar 2021, S. 20 (Epaper;

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